What of the adventures in Rodentia, you ask?
A friend was kind enough to give or loan me a mouse-trap–Tomcat, they called it. A trap designed to capture the mouse alive; humane, although the caricature on the packaging, of a sleek feline crouching to pounce, looked anything but merciful toward his prey. His eyes gleamed with the primal glee of the hunt. …An effective and inspiring illustration.
Another friend–who scolded me for pussy-footing around in some spiritual avoidance of the practical necessity of breaking heads– recommended buckets half-full of water, for catching and drowning hapless and thirsty desert rats. I assured her that, while I did not want to kill anybody, at this point, my choices here were born more of fiscal low-ground rather than spiritual high-ground: no money to buy prefab snap traps.
I have placed buckets around, but so far no one has drowned but a few winged creatures. The second night with the Tomcat trap, though, I caught a mouse. Alas, the event killed both the mouse and the trap. The little grey cutie had been pinned at the hindquarters by the tripping door, and did not survive. After much finessing, I was able to remove the poor creature from the device, which my friend had said I could re-use. But the maneuvers required to extract the mouse-that-was broke the mechanism that holds the tomcat trap in ready-to-pounce position, rendering it as unviable as his prey.
In the same night, the back hatch of my van lost its manhood. One day it worked fine; the next morning the pressurized parts that raise it and hold it up when opened just ceased to work. When I opened the hatch the door felt inordinately heavy; I could scarcely get it up and it wouldn’t stay up. Now, if enter the van that way, I’d likely be pinned in a manner eerily similar to that mouse!
Around this time, I noticed a raven hanging around the back deck, attracted to this patio-dining experience by the carcass of a bunny nearby. The presence of a winged shadow curbed most of the pack-rat activity on the deck– the nightly people-proofing work on cholla thorn berms around the stoop. I have rather enjoyed the meal-time visits by “Nevermore,” as I call him, even as he munches flesh and shits upon the deck. For me, it is just hospitality to one of the tribe. Since Nevermore was finding little left but fur for breakfast, however, it maybe that his patrol is about to end.
Time to refill the buckets, although this rainy spring is making my little oases of death far less enticing.